JUBA, Sudan (AFP) – The once sleepy south Sudan town of Juba that hopes to become the world’s newest national capital opted 97.5 percent for independence, preliminary results from a landmark vote showed Wednesday.
There were 211,018 votes cast for independence for the mainly Christian, African region against just 3,650 for continued unity with the mainly Arab, Muslim north, the head of Juba county referendum sub-committee, Timon Wani, announced to applause and cheers.
Full preliminary results from some of the south’s 10 states showed landslides for secession as high as 99 percent.
In Lakes state, centred on the town of Rumbek which served as rebel headquarters during the 1983-2005 civil war with the north, 298,216 of the 300,444 votes cast were for independence, 99.924 percent of the total.
Just 227 were for continued unity with the north — 0.076 percent of the total — with the balance made up of blank or invalid ballots.
In Western Bahr al-Ghazal state, centred on one of the south’s three big cities Wau, 153,839 of the 162,594 votes cast were for secession, 94.6 percent of the total. There were just 7,237 votes for continued union with the north.
In Unity state, the south’s main oil-producing area, with 472,000 votes so far collated, organisers reported more than 471,000 votes for independence and just 91 for unity.